EGUSHWA (Agashawa, Augooshaway, Negushwa), Ottawa war chief; b. c. 1730, probably in the Detroit River region; d. c. 1800 in southeastern Michigan.
Egushwa, who reputedly had fought as a young man for the French against the British, came into prominence among the Indians in the Detroit River region in the 1770s as a successor to Pontiac*, to whom he was apparently related. Although at first he achieved note as a war chief and was listed as such at a Detroit council in June 1778, he was to become a major spokesman on all issues for the Ottawas, Ojibwas, Potawatomis, and at times the Wyandots, of the vicinity. In 1778 he was the main Indian leader on Henry Hamilton’s expedition against Vincennes (Ind.), whose inhabitants had declared for the rebels. He advised Hamilton, acted as liaison between him and the other chiefs, and led scouting parties into the surrounding country. Later in the revolution, in 1780, he probably accompanied Captain Henry Bird on an expedition into Kentucky.
By the late 1780s Egushwa’s power and influence extended through the Detroit River region, southern Michigan, and the area south of Lake Erie. He was in contact with the Indians in Ohio who had been converted by the Moravian Brethren. During the revolution these Indians had first been forcibly removed from their villages by the British and had subsequently been fallen upon by the Americans [see Glikhikan]. He assured them that they were safe in their new town of New Salem (about 12 miles south of Sandusky, Ohio). Missionary David Zeisberger* emphasized that Egushwa held authority in the region and that most important questions were referred to him. At Detroit in 1790 the chief was one of the signatories to a treaty by which the Ottawas, Ojibwas, Potawatomis, and Wyandots ceded land in present southwestern Ontario to the British.
Although Britain had agreed at the end of the American revolution to withdraw from the country south of the Great Lakes, she had not done so, hoping that with her encouragement the Indians of the Ohio country would be able to resist the advance of American settlement. The Americans, however, were determined to assert their authority over the region. Egushwa helped organize the Indian resistance to American advances across the Ohio River. He was particularly active at the time of Major-General Anthony Wayne’s expedition in 1793 and 1794, sending messages among the Ojibwas, Potawatomis, and Ottawas encouraging them to assemble on the Miamis (Maumee) River and resist the American forces. Speaking and acting on behalf of these tribes, he was one of the most important chiefs among the Indians who gathered to meet Wayne’s advance. He fought against the Americans at the battle of Fallen Timbers (near Waterville, Ohio) in August 1794, when the Indians, unassisted by the nearby British, were defeated. Lieutenant Governor Simcoe* of Upper Canada referred to him as “that Great Chief and firm Friend of the British.”
Egushwa recovered from a serious wound in the head which he received during the battle, and in the mid 1790s he was living in the Raisin River (Mich.) area. In the late spring of 1795 he journeyed to Greenville (Ohio) to negotiate with Wayne. He spoke at the council and signed the treaty of Greenville, which surrendered most of present Ohio to the Americans. On his return to Raisin River he sent the copy of the treaty and the large peace medal given to him by Wayne to the British Indian agent Alexander McKee.
Egushwa died in southeastern Michigan about 1800. According to the trader Pierre Navarre, his brother Nodowance was also a war chief and another brother, Flat Button, was a warrior.
Correspondence of Lieut. Governor Simcoe (Cruikshank), II, 8, 126–29, 189, 195, 224, 233, 345, 396; III, 19, 274, 292, 325; IV, 26, 71, 92–93, 304; V, 130. [L. C. Draper], “Biographical field notes of Dr. Lyman C. Draper: Toledo and vicinity, 1863–1866,” Hist. Soc. of Northwestern Ohio, Quarterly Bull. (Toledo), 5 (1933), no.4, items 82, 142, 151. Frontier defense on the upper Ohio, 1777–1778 . . . , ed. R. G. Thwaites and L. P. Kellogg (Madison, Wis., 1912; repr. Millwood, N.Y., 1973). Henry Hamilton and George Rogers Clark in the American revolution, with the unpublished journal of Lieut. Gov. Henry Hamilton, ed. J. D. Barnhart (Crawfordsville, Ind., 1951). Indian affairs: laws and treaties, comp. C. J. Kappler (5v., Washington, 1904–41; repr. New York, 1971), II, 44. Michigan Pioneer Coll., IX (1886), 442, 483; X (1886), 394; XX (1892), 350. U.S., Congress, American state papers: documents, legislative and executive, of the Congress of the United States . . . (38v., Washington, 1832–61), class II, v., 566. [David Zeisberger], Diary of David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary among the Indians of Ohio, ed. and trans. E. F. Bliss (2v., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1885), I, 437–38; II, 26–27, 39–40, 83–84, 154. R. F. Bauman, “Pontiac’s successor: the Ottawa Au-goosh-away (E Gouch-e-ouay),” Northwest Ohio Quarterly (Toledo), XXVI (1954), 8–38.